Florence has a distinctive dining scene that separates it from all other Italian cities. You can find the typical flavors across the city to find how Florence emerged from a Roman settlement to a city of import in the Middle Ages.
The food reflected the cucina povera when households prepared meals based on available ingredients relying heavily on items discarded by the upper class. The extravagant dishes of the Medici court have not withstood the tests of time, but the flavorful cuisine of the Cucina Povera remains the prevalent style of cooking in Florence that you can enjoy during your Italy trip.
The t-bone steak cut from the Chianina cow is a staple of Florentine cuisine and one of the most famous dishes from the city. The ancient Tuscan breed of cattle is prized for their succulent and tasty meat seasoned with simple herbs or spices and grilled over red-hot coals. Traditional restaurants and home cooks serve the steak rare topped with rosemary, salt, and pepper for seasoning. You can indulge in the succulent and hearty dish during your time in Florence on an Italian tour to sample the exceptional flavor.
Lampredotto is a specialty of Florence and one of the dishes that encapsulates the traditions of the cucina povera in the area. The dish consists of tripe slowly cooked with tomato, onion, parsley, and celery until every morsel is tender and juicy. Lampredotto is a popular dish, but a famous one for Florence served in restaurants or at street vendors, made in a private home kitchen or at stalls in the markets. You can sample the rich and seductive flavor as a snack or a meal when traveling around Florence.
Gelato is one of the most famous Italian culinary creations. The frozen dessert is similar to ice cream, and popular flavors in Florence include pistachio, sour cherries, almond, and hazelnut. Florence holds the origins of contemporary gelato and the first gelateria. Fashionable and artisanal gelateria hide throughout the labyrinthine streets of the historic city center producing captivating flavors with fresh, local ingredients that are sure to captivate you on a gelato-tasting tour or simply when stopping in for a refreshing cone.
Pecorino Toscano is a firm cheese protected by DOP status. The cheese is prepared with full cream from pasteurized sheep’s milk. It typically matures for 20 days but can age for up to four months for a harder texture and more robust flavor. Around Florence and greater Tuscany, the matured pecorino can be a substitute for Parmesan’s strong flavor and grated over pasta, soups, or side dishes. Whether on a cheese-tasting tour, during aperitivo, or when enjoying a plate of pasta, you can delight in the flavor of Pecorino Toscano DOP.
Tuscan bread has one defining attribute: an absence of salt. Not using salt in the bread dates back to the Middle Ages when the local nobility placed a heavy tax on salt, but the short shelf life of Tuscan bread has encouraged Florentines and Tuscans to utilize day-old bread in classic recipes like panzanella. The bread is traditionally baked in a wood-fired oven, but its primary purpose is as an accompaniment to a meal used to soak up remaining sauces, soups, or oils leftover after the meal to enjoy the last of the salty and rich flavors. You can take part in the custom during a traditional Florentine meal.
The culinary heritage of Florence has grown from humble origins reliant on fresh local ingredients and has become a powerhouse of internationally renowned flavors. A meal in Florence can introduce you to the traditions of the kitchen or how new chefs are reinventing familiar flavors. Find inspiration for your custom-tailored trip with our Italy Tours or learn more about how you can experience your perfect vacation with Zicasso’s Italy Travel Guide. For help planning, you can speak with an Italy travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.